Dynamic duo notch another win

Old buddies, the Gracemere trainer Laurie Clem and Rockhampton jockey Meggsie Hall renewed their long-standing winning association when Half-Hennessy gelding Cheelar scored in the $10,000 Maiden Handicap (1100m) on the sand track at the TAB meeting in Rockhampton yesterday.

In a “pick with a pin” race result, Cheelar paying $11.30 a win on UNITAB beat Giggle’N’Gossip (John Stephens, $49.70) and Trust The Moment ($17.00) which resulted in the race trifecta paying $5833.40.

Formerly of Bundaberg, where he comes from a long running racing family, Clem had good reason to be happy with the win of Cheelar who he said he leases from Kabra’s Clive Large.

Clem declared the overdue win had “got the monkey off my back”.

“The win (Rockhampton) was overdue as it was my first for about 10 years but I had given training away at one time. Meggsie and I go back about 20 years as he used to ride for me in Bundaberg,” Clem said.

While there are no prizes for guessing the colour of Meggsie Hall’s hair, he has enjoyed a colourful career riding throughout Australia.

Brisbane’s Kelvin Wharton, very much under-rated but with similar work ethics to Hall, was the more popular jock with punters when he had to work overtime to land short priced Citiwyse ($1.50) the winner of the $12,000 Class 6 (1300m).

Citiwyse brought outstanding Brisbane grass track form to Callaghan Park but his grinding win on the sandy loam there yesterday illustrated the treachery punters face in picking winners on the temporary venue.

That was ever so evident in the $10,000 Class 1 (1150m), when top junior rider Alisha Taylor rode her third winner in four days courtesy of Rodney Hay’s Taroom outsider Great Music ($32.70).

If Great Music’s upset win following defeats at Dingo, Roma and Taroom was a bitter pill for punters to swallow, heavily backed race favourite Beat The Bullseye had his own problems by tailing the field copping the proverbial mouthful.

It was not abuse from punters but sand as inquiring stewards soon found out.

“We questioned his jockey Mandy Radecker and she said Beat The Bullseye was never comfortable on the sand and dirt and the horse resented it coming back in his face,” steward Paul Gillard said.

Mackay apprentice Ashley Butler took riding honours with a winning double courtesy of Thangool trainer Kath Ross’ punter’s friend Belista ($1.80) in the Class 2 (900m) and Ooralea trainer Stuart Kendrick’s Scudder (Class 4, 1100m).

Belista has found a new lease of life since Ross acquired the Honours List (IRE) mare from New South Wales last October by now winning twice at Rockhampton following a placing at Caloundra and a Mt Perry win.

The Rockhampton Jockey Club’s final meeting on the sand circuit is programmed for January 19 while the first on the new grass track can’t come soon enough on Friday, January 29.



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